Circle Of Dead Children – Zero Comfort Margin

Circle Of Dead Children’s latest release (from 2005; the band’s been in something of a coma since then, though they’re supposed to be releasing a new full-length soon).  It has probably the strangest production of any of their material I’ve heard so far, as though it were recorded in the world’s best rehearsal room.  It’s mixed appropriately and the drums seem very professionally done, but the mix seems inappropriately cluttered, like the instruments were recorded live and right on top of each other.  It’s not very distracting but it’s curious.

The releases of this band generally fall into two categories: transcendent works of art in the form of modern grind, and merely very good music.  ‘Zero Comfort Margin’ is in the latter category.  I get the impression that the band was trying to recreate the success of their ‘Exotic Sense Decay’ EP on this but fell short.  It seems composed in a similarly specific way; microsongs like stitches in a greater fabric laced together with weaving patterns of blasting and grinding versus droning ambiance.  The main problem with the disc is that while its aim is admirable, it’s not pure.  While ‘Exotic Sense Decay’ was a release that fundamentally had to be taken as a whole, with individual tracks that generally made no sense without a greater context to tie them together, ‘Zero Comfort Margin’ tries to have its cake and eat it too through songs more easy to consume by themselves.  If ‘Exotic Sense Decay’ was a thoroughly impressionist work, this is a CD that tries to replicate that feeling without burdening the listener as much as the previous, which makes it unable to live up to that EP’s majesty.

That said, it is still of high quality when compared to other modern grind.  Circle Of Dead Children make consistently interesting and artistic music, and this is no different.  Even if it’s not an overwhelming triumph, the overall structure and flow of the EP is much better and clearly more thought out than most other music in the same genre.  The songs are unmistakably rooted in the Circle Of Dead Children sound; chainsaw tremolo riffs alternating between upbeat and atonal and the desperately melodic while drums reflect such chaos through snappy blasting and abrupt fills, all of which is encased by an extremely low, savage vocal performance.  The technical performance of each member is stunning as usual.  The songwriting is strong, staying interesting and consistent while remaining firmly within the realm of grind.

I suppose this release proves, if nothing else, that even a failed experiment by Circle Of Dead Children is better than most successful attempts by other bands.  Fans of the group will of course want to pick it up; it’s not a super priority release, but it’s quality and an enjoyable listen.


~ by noktorn on September 1, 2008.

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